A hat trick from Anthony Allison and a goal from Alvin Dahn were enough as the Stars clinched a playoff spot in the NPSL Keystone Conference with a 4-2 win away to New Jersey Copa FC.
On a sunny and humid afternoon at the Mercer County Community College outside Trenton, NJ, the Stars knew that they were on the verge of making history and a good result would see them qualify for the playoffs for the first time in six seasons.
Unlike other games where they have started slowly, the Stars started this match with more urgency and found themselves two goals up in the first 14 minutes.
Captain and top scorer Anthony Allison started the scoring in the eighth minute when a powerful shot from Alvin Dahn was parried onto the path of Allison, who made no mistake in tapping the ball at the back of the net from five yards out.
Dahn turned from provider to scorer by heading in the Stars’ second goal in the 14th minute from Kouassi N’Guessan’s assist.
Shocked by those two early goals, Copa pulled one back in the 16th minute through Anthony Ferrer.
Couple of water breaks took the sting out of the match and it wasn’t until the last two minutes of the first half that fans were able to see more action.
In the 44th minute, Allison scored his second of the day and the Stars third when a blocked shot from Alvin Dahn fell to his feet to put the Stars 3-1 ahead. However, just when the Stars were thinking about taking a two-goal lead to the halftime break, a miscommunication from goalkeeper Vincent Tasca and defender Mohammed Mayah saw the latter scoring an own goal in an open net to give Copa a lifeline.
After the break, the Stars continued where they left off and extended their lead with Allison completing his hat trick in the 54th minute off a through pass from Amadou Sheriff. This was Allison’s ninth goal in only eight NPSL matches this season.
With the heat wave reaching an unbearable proportion, the game became a lull as the Stars held on to the 4-2 win thereby clinching a playoffs berth.
With the win, the Stars (7-2-0, 21 points) moved up to second place on the Keystone Conference table, just three points behind conference leaders FC Motown (8-0-0, 24 points) who have a game on hand.
Junior Lone Star FC head coach Fatoma Turay shared some positive thoughts after the game.
“Congrats to the boys and my staff for making the playoffs. I’m so proud of everyone. We still have more to accomplish so we can’t start now. All of these players have been so committed this season. For example, the captain Allison just lost his grandmother, but still decided to play and he scored a hat-trick to send us to playoffs!! All these players have sacrificed so much to get us where we are today, and we will continue working hard. We are looking forward to finishing as high on the table as we can as we prepare for playoffs.”
The Stars will end the 2018 NPSL regular season on Saturday, July 7th when they welcome Hershey FC at the South Philadelphia Super Site in Philadelphia, PA. Kickoff is at 6:00 pm.
Contributor: Junior Lone Star FC